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tv   Naval War College in Newport  CSPAN  January 21, 2018 9:29am-9:46am EST

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everywhere. >> q&a tonight at 8 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> established in 1884, the naval war college is the home of the u.s. navy. join us as we learn more about it in the history of the navy in newport. >> here at the center of american maritime history in newport, rhode island, it is one of the deepest natural in closed ports in the world. for that reason the united states navy chose it as one of its key anchorages during the prime of american naval seapower in the early 20th century. arguably the origins of the naval war college began. the germans were ahead of the game, literally, in techniques of wargaming. during the wars of german
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unification, they came up with an idea called the general staff. the general staff was an organization that enabled all the different principalities to fall in line with their regiments under this centralized organization called the general staff. there was a guy named emory upton, a greater general. he said look at what the germans did with that general staff. he went over to germany and studied the german methods. he brought them back. upton basically made the argument what we needed to do was create a federally regulated army. that idea ran against some of the traditional thoughts of how the american military should be operated. it did not go that well for emory upton. he counted among his friends unable officer who served in the civil war, and the blockading operations of the civil war. upton told him about this neat idea called the general staff. one of the ways the germans came
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up with this idea was by creating a war college. the purpose of war colleges from upton's point of you was to understand war in a deeper historical sense, so as to not only avoid future wars but also win them quickly and decisively. the naval war college has a longer story to tell beyond its original inception in 1884. the concept of a were college was in some camps seen as slightly un-american. beginning in 1884, this is the building with the first lectures were delivered to american naval practitioners. one of the earlier depictions of that type of activity is seen here in this, published in january of 1889.
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frank wesley's sketch of what was going on in founders hall. the methodology was to reconstruct past battles and examine these piece by piece the decisions made in the battle. not to be judgmental, but understand the reasoning behind the decisions. that was the purpose of looking at historical battles for the purpose of examining contemporary challenges and develop strategy for the future. the history of newport and the united states navy is a deep story that goes back many centuries. during the american civil war, newport looms large in the story of the war between the states.
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the united states naval academy was established originally in maryland, annapolis. of course, maryland was not quite loyal to the union and not quite disloyal to the confederacy. the decision was made to move the naval academy from its location at annapolis, maryland, and break it up to newport, rhode island. they installed the midshipmen at the naval academy at the atlantic house hotel, which was located in central newport. the building is no longer there, but the legacy of the naval academy in newport during the civil war looms very large and understanding how the united states navy evolved. later on in the 1880's and 1890's, the mids at the academy during the civil war studied under instructors like stephen b loose, and alfred thayer mahan
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the word training midshipman at the academy. among the other prot├ęges, alfred thayer mahan is probably the most known. here we have a signed photograph of him, who unfortunately died in 1914 just as the first world war was developing. mahan is best-known for his works on seapower. we have the exact copy of "influence of seapower upon history," which alfred thayer mahan became famous writing. this was the copy he gave to president theodore roosevelt. of course, theodore roosevelt being who he was very much enjoyed studying history. as you can see, the inscription,
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"to theodore roosevelt, with best wishes and complements." "the influence of seapower upon history" uses history specifically of the british empire as a means of making observations about the role of maritime strategy in the interests of the nation. when he is actually grappling with was the interrelationship of politics, economy, diplomacy and the use of naval forces to support the free trade and economic interests of the nation. mahan, looking to brittania as a model saw opportunity for the united states after the civil war to take a place at the table as a maritime power in its own right. alfred thayer mahan and theodore roosevelt were good friends, all the way back to the 1880's.
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theodore roosevelt also new alfred thayer mahan's father who taught at west point. because of this sort of interrelationship and shared interest in seapower, and inspired by the works of mahan and others, theodore roosevelt really is a champion for the creation of what was called at the time the idea of an 80 second to none --a navy second to none. he convinced people to build the great white fleet. they built ships named after interior states, like iowa for missouri, wisconsin. the idea was to get people in those interior states excited about their navy. for the purpose of defending the interests of the nation on the high seas, as a show of what the potential might be for this "navy second to none," they staged the voyage, the
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circumnavigation of the great white fleet. they went around the world showing the american flag and all the ports, the key ports around the world. everyone was very impressed by the ships. so, as a european powers muddled their way into the first world war the fall of 1914, the united states decided to remain neutral. largely because president woodrow wilson developed a strategy of neutrality. in july of 1916, a group of agents working for the german ministry actually conducted an attack, a terrorist attack in new york city.
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they threw some explosives into the naval arsenal facility at black tom island. it created an earthquake under the city of new york. is actually caused damage to the statue of liberty. just a few months later after that attack, as the government was trying to figure out who actually conducted the attack, a u-boat showed up in newport, rhode island where we are today. the german submarine u-53 pulled into the narragansett bay, pulled up to buoy number 2, right next to the united states naval war college. this giver of u-53 got on board a water taxi and got his way up to dewey field and walked up the hill, and went to the main building of the naval war college.
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he knocked on the front door and he said, hi, i'm here to send a postcard. the person at the quarter deck said, ok, what else are you here for? he said i'm here to call upon the president of the naval war college. at the time that was admiral austin knight. they walked up the stairs to the second floor. the lieutenant of the imperial german navy introduced himself to admiral knight, the president of the naval war college. he said where you hear? we are neutral. you are a warship and you are in danger of violating the new challenging laws, at which time we will have to place you in internment. he said i'm just here to mail postcard to my mother and call upon you as is appropriate in naval tradition.
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he was trying to say, my u-boat can reach your shores, and you should be aware if you decide to get involved in the first world war. this was unsaid during their conversation. at the end, he said admiral, i would like to invite you down to the u-53 and we would like to have a nice day with you real quick before we get underway again. of course, in naval tradition, admiral knight decided to say i will come down to the u-boat. during this exchange between the american naval officers and german sailors, but was really happening was the americans were trying to gather as much information as they could about the german submarine u-53. hans was very forthright and told the americans details about
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the torpedoes on board. he told the americans the boat could dive very deep innovative prospect of being counterattacked in the event of an escort being at the scene. hans was cheerful about the whole thing. the purpose of his visit was to demonstrate to the americans the vulnerability that the united states faced in relation to german submarines and the purpose of that was to intimidate the united states to stay out of the first world war. as the boat was getting under way and heading back out, the skipper of the u-53 ordered a life preserver brought up from below. he threw it into the water as there were a number of yachtsmen behind.
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after he threw the life preserver into the water he ordered the boat to dive. before it starts to maneuver diving, he yells out to the trailing yachtsman from newport, good luck. for the next week, the crew of the u-53 second number of ships right in the approaches to the narragansett bay, thereby trying to send the message to the united states that if you get involved in this foreign war, the first world war, there will be consequences. during the early 1960's, american naval forces were deployed to vietnamese waters. in 1964, over the gulf of tonkin, and aviator named james stockdale was operating often aircraft carrier. admiral stockdale is an interesting character in the
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history of the u.s. naval war college. he is a medal of honor winner. he had served in vietnam and was there from the very beginning of the vietnam war. flew over the scene of the gulf of tonkin incident, and later on was shot down over north vietnam and became the senior american prisoner of war. issuing orders to the other prisoners of war to conduct themselves with as much composer as possible in the difficult circumstances that they faced in the hanoi hilton. among others, john mccain was with admiral stockdale in the hanoi hilton. for their service, admiral stockdale as the senior p.o.w. received the medal of honor in 1973 for his heroic service while in captivity. later on he came to the united
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states naval war college as president. was instrumental in the delivery of educational content for the purposes of informing our future strategy. united states naval war college here in newport is really the center of the u.s. navy of the 21st century. it is through these doors from 1884 to the present day that the great american naval thinkers came through to learn about their profession. the other thing we teach at the naval war college is we're not really here to fight the future war. we are trying to figure out strategic ways to avoid future wars through seapower. v >> are cities towards staff traveled to newport, rhode island, to learn about its
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history. learn about newport and other stops at c-span.org/cities tour. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. civil war,the stephen hood, author of john ofl hood, talks about some the misconceptions surrounding the general. he discusses his access to john bell heard's personal papers and how his work has brought new information to the debate about general hood's reputation. this 90 minute talk is part of pamplin's historical parks symposiumhe is - looking at more the controversial leaders of the civil war. >> stephen m. hood is a distant relative of confederate general john bell hood. he is the author of "john bell hood: the rise, fall, and resurrection of a confederate general."

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